This past weekend, the Brooklyn based band, Friends, came through Houston on tour with Two Door Cinema Club. As we walked into the green room, an idea was nonchalantly offered to the group by lead singer, Samantha Urbani, to take a walk to Forever 21. Nearly the whole band agreed on the venture, and so we began. I spoke mostly with Samantha but other band members offered their thoughts as well. Walking, shopping and chatting with Friends really gave me a chance to get to know them as individuals. Seeing them interact helped me learn about them as a band. They are a quirky bunch, with a philosophy on life that they created and share. They are free-spirited, talented artists that are humble and certainly, friendly.
Lauren Ignited: Friends has been together since 2010 and you’re already on tour with Two Door Cinema Club. Pretty amazing. When did you know that you “had something” as a band?
F: “It was honestly our first band practice when we thought we had something special. It just clicked very immediately and very naturally.”
L: Which song was the most difficult song to write?
F: “That’s a tough question. A lot of them were written so extremely easily.Like, Friend Crush for example, was very stream of consciousness. It was the first thing I wrote that ended up becoming a Friends song. It wasn’t initially a song even. The melody and the words just got stuck in my head and I just sang it into my phone as I was walking down the street. And I didn’t even think interesting or special until I played it for other people and they really liked it. But, Mind control we wrote differently from other stuff. The band wrote the music before I wrote the vocal part. And that’s usually not how it happens.”
LI: Are there any songs that you are sick of performing?
F: “Yeah, there are some songs that we’ve gotten sick of, but we’ve retired them as but as that’s happened and tried to write new stuff. When you get bored with melody or you’re bored with lyrics, you just have to stimulate yourself by trying to improve the other aspects of the performance. Like performing better, dancing better, freaking out the audience a little bit more. But there’s not like one song that I hate or anything.”
LI: You mentioned that a lot of the crowd over the course of the tour has been in the tween age range. What were you listening to as a tween?
F: Crumb bums, Dead Kennedy’s, Weezer, Miles Davis, Misfits, The Cure, The Smiths
LI: Which bands are you listening to now?
F: INC, Dam funk, Sade, Splash, Savages
LI: Samantha, from listening to Manifest, it really sounds like you have a strength to your music without playing up the emotion too much. Like, you don’t use emotion as a way to hype up the crowd, or your music as a platform to get over a break up. You seem grounded in your emotions and in your desire to share them with the audience.
F:“I’ve had experiences in my life that have taught me that nothing matters, but everything matters. Because nothing and everything are the same thing. A lot of people who I’m really close with dying or insanely serendipitous, positive things happening. You just have to reach this level of equanimity where everything is the same. And you don’t have to be a nihilist because you believe that. It can be a platform for positivity.”
Friends brought a lot of energy with them to Houston and it showed. The crowd screamed and sang along to some of their biggest hits, including ‘Mind Control.’ Keep an eye on this band, I think you’re going to be seeing a lot more of them!